Opinion Piece: GB News, with its slogan ‘Britain’s News Channel’, has no news.
After a year of speculation as to how GB News will present itself on-air, Britain’s newest ‘news channel’ launched on Sunday evening and it’s fair to say after nearly 24 hours on air, there is no news.
The Discovery backed news channel, with veteran broadcaster Andrew Neil as chairman, hit the airwaves at 8.00pm with a launch show, fronted by Neil. An average of 260,000 tuned in to watch Neil deliver what the new channel would have to offer. Plagued with a number of technical issues it became quite clear what was going to be on offer in the coming weeks.
As we approach the 24 hours mark since GB News launched, there hasn’t actually been any news, in the traditional sense of what we know as news in the UK. Not a news summary or a rundown of the main stories in the UK and around the world. The hosts throughout the day have danced between technical difficulties to tell us their thoughts on the news, without the viewers having seen any actual news.
While the ethos of the channel may ring true with some in the UK, the trashing of ‘mainstream media’ won’t hold up in the long run. If you want to be an opinion channel, that’s fine. Just remember that you are serving upon the feast brought to you by the excellent newsgathering teams at the BBC, ITN and Sky to then create debate and discussion upon the back of that.
In the run up to the launch of GB News, it was widely thought by those on the left that the channel would become the UK’s answer to Fox News Channel. I can tell you, it’s not. GB News is trying to be personality driven, as Fox News does so well, but it’s missing one key ingredient – News.
It may come as a surprise to some but Fox News isn’t wall to wall right wing loudmouths such as Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingram. It actually has news. It has a functioning news department with correspondents across the UK and the World and can turn its hand to breaking news in an instant.
Fox News became a success because of the balance it strikes in news and opinion. If GB News is to become anything remotely like Fox News, it needs to be taken seriously, and you do that by having a strong news department.